The day brightened enough to suggest a trip out to ride. My slick machine swept into action. Just over an hour later I was aboard Brena in a quiet valley several miles away. Another half-hour saw us on the ridge looking down across the Thames Valley. This is Dean's Bottom, where King Alfred and his men chased the defeated Danes (i.e. Vikings) after the Battle of Ashdown - just one thousand one hundred and forty one years ago. In the hills memories are long.
The power station in the valley threw up a huge cloud. See the sheep grazing in the shady foreground, on the old turf covering the remains of a Roman temple. Today's edifice throws up a spectacle to stand above the relics of a long-dead empire. And I traversed the Roman road imagining a legion marching towards me: the tramp of the boots, the clink of armour and weapons, their raucous voices and the greeting of their officer to an august traveller. (Well, I'm not going to imagine myself a tramp!)
The sun was low. It was time to turn back towards the trailer. At one point we cast a shadow across a meadow yellow with cowslips. It's not a lofty exciting hill, but it's still attractive in green and yellow. Years ago I used to ride up a hill like that leading trail rides - usually the first day of a week out - stopping to picnic at the top. One of these days I'll pause atop this little local hill with victuals to consume.
We rode into a pretty sunset. Just in time because we would be arriving back at the trailer at twilight and would get to the field with just the faintest glimmer still in the westerly sky. Slithering through the mud in darkness is such fun. A little bit of light just makes the difference. But I did not dwell on logistics. I enjoyed the view across to the golden-fringed pink clouds above pastel fields.